[OSM-talk] namespaces and copyright

Juan Lucas Dominguez Rubio jldominguez at prodevelop.es
Mon Apr 28 18:06:52 BST 2008

let's see if you have b**** to copy this place-name:


De: talk-bounces at openstreetmap.org en nombre de elvin ibbotson
Enviado el: lun 28/04/2008 18:10
Para: talk at openstreetmap.org
Asunto: Re: [OSM-talk] namespaces and copyright

It seems my little rant about what I perceive as an unnecessarily precious approach to copyright issues ruffled a few feathers. I think everyone's plumage is spruce again now, so I just want to respond to some of the helpful guidance received.

	You may yet have to come across a streetname deliberately spelled
	wrongly or in fact any of the other possible easter eggs introduced by
	commercial mapmakers just to protect database rights.

	Using street signs and doing general surveing on the ground is the only
	safe option. --- Dirk-Lüder "Deelkar" Kreie

Correct! I have never actually seen one, but I'm sure they exist. However, I can make my own spelling mistakes without their help. I hope people didn't assume I'm doing all my mapping from the A-Z. I do actually go out there collecting tracks with my GPS,  photographing things, naming waypoints and even remembering the odd street name.

	Further discussion on this topic is probably best relegated to the
	legal-talk list:

		If not, I  would like to see them sue.

	This statement is exactly the *opposite* of what the OSM Foundation
	probably feels. Lawsuits cost money. OSM doesn't have the kind of
	resources that allow it to consider defending a suit a reasonable path
	at this time, and thus, it takes the 'moral high ground' by avoiding
	all the issues involved and playing it completely safe, as is the best
	position for a project of this nature to take. --- Christopher Schmidt


	I think this is generally the point: most people would prefer they
	/didn't/ sue. Even if their case didn't really have a leg to stand on,
	you still end up having to defend it which is more hassle than it's
	worth if you can simply avoid the situation in the first place. The
	same goes for taking street names or climbing route information from
	sources which claim copyright.

	As for whether copying the names from maps is legal, well there's
	plenty of opinion on this from lawyers and non-lawyers alike. Database
	right tends to come into it too. I get the feeling YMMV. OSM policy
	has always been to keep to the safe side of the argument and only
	allow sources which are guaranteed to be permitted.
	Anyway, follow ups to the legal-talk list please. --- Dave Stubbs

I tried subscribing to the legal list but something seems to be broken, so I'm back here polluting the talk list - sorry!

Here ("I  would like to see them sue") I was using what I thought was a widely-used and equally widely-understood device, colloquially known as 'irony' (though I'm sure a grammarian would correct that). I did not actually mean it literally. I like OSM and I really hope it doesn't get sued (and here I'm not being ironic).

I'm all for staying on the right side of the law even if it means I might not go to heaven when I die. If anyone ever
accuses me of copying a street name from a book or a map I will deny ever having set eyes on said book or map or having asked anyone who might have seen it. There is a danger I might occasionally have to lie, but it's better than getting sued, eh?. To be really safe, I'm going to start looking carefully at the street signs for copyright notices. (sort of irony again).

	On the other hand, on a rock face there are no signs - things can become much more subjective.  Climbing (difficulty) grades, for example, are estimates - there is no hard fast rule about what makes a route a specific grade.  A bunch of people climb it and make a guestimate on how hard they think it is. --- Steve Hill

My original post was prompted by one about climbing route names from Chris Hill. You guys take your surnames too seriously.
It sounds like this climbing malarky is as anarchic as OSM. You should have committees to grade climbs and approve route names and climbing police to ensure no-one ever uses a copyrighted route name without proper attribution.

elvin ibbotson

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